Our medical center has an unwritten policy of admitting all febrile infants younger than 2 months of age. We studied this practice during a three-year period to determine what proportion of the febrile infants who came to the outpatient department were admitted. The characteristics of the infants who were not admitted were compared with those who were. The timing of and the infant's status at a subsequent visit for those not admitted were also identified. One hundred six (35%) of 303 encounters with young, febrile infants did not result in admissions. An infant was more likely to be admitted if he was male, younger than 30 days of age, and febrile (greater than 38.5 degrees C). None of the infants who were followed up as outpatients suffered morbidity that could be directly related to their not having been hospitalized.